The racing career of champion European galloper St Nicholas Abbey is over after the six-time Group 1 winner suffered a life-threatening injury at trackwork in Ireland last night.
The Montjeu entire was preparing for the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2414m), which is set to run at Ascot on Saturday, when he fractured a pastern while completing a regulation trackwork exercise.
Coolmore Stud posted a statement on their twitter page to inform the racing public of the tragic news.
“St Nicholas Abbey suffered a serious career ending injury at Ballydoyle this morning, vets are currently attending to him,” the statement said.
“We hope to save him for a career at stud.
“He is currently in a comfortable condition at Fethard Equine Hospital, where he is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning.
“The operation to stabilise and repair will be long and complicated – we will need a bit of luck, so fingers crossed for St Nicholas Abbey.”
The son of Montjeu burst onto the UK racing scene in 2009 and finished his juvenile season undefeated, recording a dominant victory in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy (1608m).
He returned for his three-year-old season as a favourite for the English Classics but failed to live up to expectations before bouncing back as a four-year-old to win the 2011 Group 1 Coronation Cup (2423m) and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf (2412m) in the United States.
This season St Nicholas Abbey had been in tremendous form and was a clear favourite for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes after impressive victories in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2410m) at Meydan and the Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs.
His victory in the Coronation Cup was his third straight win in the race and took his career prizemoney to £4,954,590 – making him the highest prizemoney earner in the history of British and Irish racing.